Anxiety, depression top Pew report of teen problems

DENVER -- More teens say their peers are suffering from anxiety and depression, according to experts. That stress is topping the list of a Pew Research Center report published Wednesday.

Depression and anxiety rank higher than other teen issues such as bullying, drug addiction, alcohol and poverty.

“I’ll spend, sometimes, ridiculous amounts of time on assignments to get an A,” a CU Denver student told FOX31 Wednesday.

Sixty-one percent of Pew-surveyed teens say getting good grades was the top pressure associated with their peers’ anxiety and depression.

Psychologists point to various factors — from pressure to make certain grades to political partisanship, warnings of climate change and social media envy.

Metro State University of Denver professor and clinical psychologist Shawn Worthy says he’s seen a dramatic increase in last 10 to 15 years of students requiring mental health services.

“[Teens] see a lot of ‘perfect images’,” Worthy explained. “They see a lot of images of people happy … traveling and … doing all sorts of stuff they can’t measure up to.”

Worthy says parents should pay attention to their children and have conversations.

“Just get them in the habit of talking with you,” he said. “Sharing their day, sharing their experiences … sharing their feelings.”

Those talks help identify the cause of stress and help manage it, according to Worthy.

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